2017 Book #94 – Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

51HC8Rw+H2LTitle: Romancing the Scot
Author: May McGoldrick
Date finished: 11/16/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Pages in book: 284
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Penningtons series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I also participated in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see the post here. This book tells the story of Grace Ware, the daughter of one of Napoleon’s most trusted military men. Grace’s only family is her father and she has traveled with him throughout her life, even as far as the battlefields. Grace’s amazingly perfect memory has made her a valuable asset to her father as well, she can remember literally everything – everything she reads, sees, and hears and exactly where it originated and can even sort these items chronologically. Its quite amazing. Anyways after her father is murdered, Grace ends up hiding in a crate and ends up being shipped to Scotland, where she arrives 5 days later almost dead. She’s been shipped to Hugh Pennington, a decorated war veteran himself only on the British side. After nursing Grace back to health, Hugh begins to have feelings for her without knowing who she is. But can they overcome their differences and find happiness together?

Overall I thought this was an ok book. The plot like was fairly interesting and I liked both the main characters. There was a little bit too much mush-y stuff for me, the hero and heroine profess their undying love, multiple times. Which is fine but just not something I usually go for. Other than that though it was a sweet story and I found it interesting. It was a fairly quick read and I would recommend giving it a try!

The bottom line: I liked this one, I thought it was a good and quick read. It got to be a little too cheesy for me but if you’re looking for over the top ooey gooey love this one definitely has it. I would still recommend it though, it was a sweet story!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #86 – The Highlander Is All That by Sabrina York

51muLUDvxqL._SY346_Title: The Highlander Is All That
Author: Sabrina York
Date finished: 10/10/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Pages in book: 257
Stand alone or series: #4 in the Untamed Highlanders series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Elizabeth St. Claire has always been hard to please. Dreaming solely of Highlander men her whole life, no prancing London Lord can stand a chance at winning her heart…

… But perhaps a Scotsman can.

Elizabeth watches intrigued as the Highlander of her dreams, a Scotsman named Hamish Robb, arrives to oversee her season at the behest of her cousin, the Duke of Caithness. Elizabeth doesn’t hide her feelings for the striking Scot. But Hamish, determined to obey his order to protect the St. Claire sisters, steadfastly rejects her every seducing lure.

Believing that the debutante Elizabeth deserves a better, wealthier man, Hamish continues to turn away from her affection, even though he doesn’t exactly want to. Can this Highlander Scot resist the tempting seductress’ attempts to win his heart?

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Elizabeth St. Claire and Hamish Robb. Hamish has arrived in London at the bequest of his friend and business partner, Lachlan Sinclair (a duke). Sinclair’s wife is pregnant and can’t travel, and so he sends his friends Hamish and Ranald to watch over his four female cousins as they fight for husbands this Season. Elizabeth and her three sisters, Anne, Mary, and Victoria, are all very charming and lovely women. Elizabeth has always had a fondness for Scotsmen, even though she’s lived her whole life in London. She did visit Scotland once and found it to be entrancing, as she has also found the brawny men of Scotland as well. So when an especially handsome one shows up on her doorstep, she isn’t about to let this opportunity pass her by. And even though Elizabeth’s sister Anne doesn’t particularly care for Scotsmen (dislikes them in fact), she can’t seem to help herself when it comes to Ranald.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. It was definitely a quick read and so of the plot pieces were a tad unclear (like the timing once we got to the last couple chapters, it sounded like months went by but then we were talking as if weeks went by or days and it was a little confusing). I really liked that this story line incorporated the lives and romances of all four St. Claire sisters, it added an extra layer of interest. This was definitely a quick and easy read but still kept the reader interested. The story had a sweet ending and I thought this was a good addition to the series! I would recommend it.

Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book here!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot. I loved how well the story lines were woven together. This was a quick, fun and sweet read and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #4 – Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

51frawx0hul-_sx328_bo1204203200_-1Title: Victoria
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Date finished: 1/14/17
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin―creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter―brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.
Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.
Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.
“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”
Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I received this book from Book Browse in order to participate in an online book discussion on the book. If you’ve read it please come join the discussion! This book tells the story of Victoria, Queen of England in the mid 1800’s. The book begins before Victoria is queen, when she was still Alexandrina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Controlled for her whole childhood by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend/advisor (Conroy), Victoria becomes Queen when she’s barely 18 and relishes the freedom this provides. This book chronicles her Victoria’s life between the ages of around eighteen and twenty as Victoria comes into her place in the regency. As a young woman she has a lot to prove though, and with so many people who’d like to control her or use her power to their advantage, she has to be careful who she trusts. As Victoria navigates through her first couple years as Queen, she makes mistakes and falls in love and causes some scandal but all in all she stands her ground, makes her own decisions, and follows her heart.
Overall I did enjoy this book. Victoria was very interesting as a main character and the story line was interesting. There were parts of the story line that I thought could have been dug into more, like the discussions of  the poor people in London and how Victoria was spoiled with riches while there were children starving in the streets.And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t like the way the story ended. I didn’t like Victoria’s second love interest, I wanted her to end up with Melbourne despite the age difference. That probably was the thing that bothered me most about the book. Also it seemed like everyone wanted something from Victoria, which I’m sure is normal for a book about a Queen but I have to say is kind of depressing for a book about a young woman. This was a good and interesting book though and I would recommend it.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot. Victoria was extremely interesting as a character and the book included a good deal of dramatic tension, conflict, and romance as well as political intrigue. I didn’t really like the ending but overall I thought the book was very well written. I would recommend, especially for fans of books about royalty.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #2 – Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

513l5lczll-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Ready Set Rogue
Author: Manda Collins
Date finished: 1/6/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Studies in Scandal series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was lucky enough to do an author interview with Manda, you can see my post with that, an excerpt from the book, and other information here. This book was about Ivy Wareham, the daughter of a professor and an extremely talented linguist/translator who has recently been granted a partial inheritance from someone she’s never met. Lady Celeste Beauchamp has left her estate to 4 intelligent young women, all of whom are extremely eager to use Lady Celeste’s extensive library and other resources to continue expanding their knowledge and the body of their own work in their separate fields of study. But Celeste’s nephew (Quill) is determined to fight this as he is not happy about his aunt giving away his childhood refuge to four strangers. Then Ivy and Quill discover Celeste was murdered and they must join together to solve the mystery of who murdered her and why. And as they spend more and more time together trying to solve this particular mystery, they realize that fate may have brought them together for a reason: true love.
Overall I really liked this book. I loved that the heroines in this series are all extremely intelligent young ladies, and after being introduced to them all in the first book I can already see how different and interesting each of their characters will be. Ivy was fierce and intelligent and I just loved her as a character. And the relationship that developed between her and Quill was passionate but it was more than that too, it was full of real emotion and love. This book did have a lot of characters to keep track of but I think that will only add more depth to the other girl’s stories when they each get told. I think this was a good read and a great start to a new series. I would definitely recommend.

The bottom line: This was a great book! I loved that the author chose to portray such intelligent heroines, they were all very interesting. The plot was creative and kept me interested. And the tension between the hero and heroine was emotional and heart-warming. Loved it!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #1 – Waiting For An Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

51arl4wnaal-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Waiting For An Earl Like You
Author: Alexandra Hawkins
Date finished: 1/4/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #3 in Masters of Seduction series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

LOVE ISN T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Get lost in Waiting for an Earl Like You, the next lush, sensual Regency romance in the Masters of Seduction series by USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins.
Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn a.k.a. Thorn has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he is only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it is too late for him to tell Olivia the truth.
Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion and someone he can t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia s heart when their deepening connection and burning desire is built on lies and deceit?

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.This book tells the story of Olivia Lydall, who has been neighbors and friends with Lord Kempthorn (Thorn) and his twin brother (Gideon) since they were children. Being the heir, Thorn was forced to devote more time to his studies and less time on enjoying his youth, plus his arrogance always made Olivia wary of him, so it was Gideon that she was close with. After Gideon returns home after spending time at sea, Thorn sees Olivia for the first time in years at Gideon’s welcome home party. And during the evening of the party, when Thorn comes across Olivia in a secluded setting and she mistakes him for Gideon, he dances with her under the stars and kisses her. But can Thorn convince Olivia to kiss her while he’s himself? Or is she in love with his brother?
Overall I liked some parts of this book. There were a couple twists at the end that I didn’t see coming and were good surprises in the plot. I have to admit, though, that this wasn’t my favorite book by this author, the plot line just wasn’t appealing to me. I didn’t like that no one in the book, not even the heroine, could tell the twins apart. And there was a piece at the beginning about an old lover of Thorn and Gideon’s, and I thought it was pretty gross that they were sleeping with the same person at the same time. And what the hell was Gideon’s problem? Jeez that guy was cranky through like the whole book and we never really find out what was wrong with him. And Olivia’s father was a neglectful jerk who never has to apologize for that fact for some reason. Just in general, the men in this book all seemed like they were being led around with their penises and I thought they could’ve used more time thinking with their brains instead. I think this book would’ve appealed more to readers who like a bossy hero in their historical romances.

The bottom line: This was an ok book. Not my favorite in the series, the plot line was just a little weird/unappealing for me. I think its good to try if you’re reading the series or if you as a reader enjoy a hero that has a lot of arrogance and likes being in control.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #42 – The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer

51xE13On2YL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Blue Bath
Author: Mary Waters-Sayer
Date finished: 5/3/16
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.
When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.
Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also just as a side note, I did an author interview with Mary Waters-Sayer (author of The Blue Bath) which you can check out here! This book was about Kat Lind, who is currently living in London with her husband Jonathan and her son Will. The book alternates between present day and Kat’s memories of what happened 20 years ago when she was studying abroad in Paris. There were a few different interwoven topics being dealt with in this book: unconditional love of mother and child, death and loss, and, of course, overall there was a great deal of love. Kat hasn’t seen Daniel Blake since she left him in Paris twenty years ago but when she sees him again at his gallery show, it is almost like no time has passed. Kat had an intense and almost violent passion for Daniel, one that encompassed her whole life. Since leaving him though, she has moved on and found a new love with Jonathan and her son Will. But can anything really replace that first young love? Kat discovers that even though they have aged since, her and Daniel still have a reckless passion that can not be ignored. But how much is she really willing to sacrifice to be with him again?
Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot. The writing was in itself almost like a painting, the author strung the words together in a way that painted a vivid picture for the reader and made me feel like I could almost reach out and touch the scene. The chemistry between Daniel and Kat is tangible and the description of Kat’s love for Will is everything I would expect, unconditional and as encompassing as her (different kind obviously) love for Daniel once was. I had a few questions pop up as I got towards the end with some of the goings-on, but it didn’t hinder the story for me, instead it almost added to the feeling of being in a haze that Kat must have felt at those times. I felt as if I was really able to put myself in Kat’s character. And there was a twist ending that was indeed satisfying. Great read and definitely one that should be on everyone’s TBR!

The bottom line: I found this story captivating, I couldn’t put it down. I was trying to read it during every second of free time I had. Vivid imagery brings the story alive for the reader, the words are strung together in an almost lyrical prose that surrounds the reader with beauty. A must read!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #19 – I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen

51HbYZ-dKUL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: I Kissed a Rogue
Author: Shana Galen
Date finished: 3/8/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablance
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Covent Garden Cubs series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Once she spurned the man…
When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, England’s best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London’s roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again-the perfect girl who broke his heart…
Now her life depends on him
Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father’s standards of perfection-at the cost of following her heart. When she’s kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London, but the chasm of pride and prejudice that divides them.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Lady Lillian-Anne, known to her friends (few as they are at this point) as Lila. Apparently Lila was well.. kind of a bitch during her first couple Seasons and didn’t make many friends with her actions. She was forever manipulating both the other girls and the young men she wanted as suitors. One of these suitors was Brook Derring (later to become Sir Brook Derring when knighted by the king) who she treated abominably and basically crushed the crap out of his heart. When Lila is kidnapped though, it is Brook that her father turns to for help. And then a series of events fall into place that leads to a criminal hunting for Lila to murder her. Lila’s father basically forces Brook to protect Lila and (duh) they fall in love.
Overall I enjoyed this book but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites. The two main characters I just couldn’t really click with during the story and I found them a tad annoying in the beginning. I know people can change and what not but the descriptions of Lila’s actions from when she was younger seem pretty manipulative and I found it hard to believe that (even being affected by her mother’s death) she really could have changed that much. And some of the plot didn’t click with me too, obviously the bad guy gets to Lila in the end part – why wouldn’t he just kill her as soon as he got a hold of her? Anyways other than those couple small things it was a sweet story and what I would look for in a romance novel. Brook’s character was very charming in parts and the ending was romantic.

The bottom line: This was a good historical romance, I have enjoyed this series so far. The characters were a bit annoying for me at the beginning but other than that I enjoyed this one. Would recommend.

Link to author website

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